One of the most infuriating parts of being a plumber is being asked how to do something they are paid and are licensed to do.
There are simple jobs (which aren’t always so simple when someone inexperienced tries to fix it) that can be legally done without a license, and most plumbers will be happy to share a few tips to assist.
These jobs could be changing a washer in a tap or changing over a shower rose or bath spout to changing the dropper valve in a leaking toilet cistern.
But when it comes to the jobs where a toilet waste has to be changed to suit a new toilet suite or some cold water lines need to be run or changing over a mixer tap… these jobs must be done by a licensed plumber. Even if Google shows you how it can be done.
I’m always happy to receive an email, message or text asking why a plumbing problem is happening and what can be done to fix it. I will ALWAYS recommend ringing a plumber – even for the simplest of jobs because
• They are licensed to do the job
• They will always complete the job in a shorter amount of time than you could
• You’re supporting a family business
• Some simple jobs may not always be so simple to your own eye. What may be the problem to you, may not be the cause. A plumber’s experience can fix the underlying problem to prevent it reoccurring.
Doing your own plumbing work can lead to big mistakes that can cost you money in the long run even if you think you’re saving on labour fees. The labour fees that you saved will go toward paying legal costs to defend charges against you when your unlicensed plumbing has been found out, let alone the fine you will be demanded to pay when found guilty.
Not all unlicensed plumbing installations go to plan either. Mistakes like this true example of renovating a bathroom, fitting it off and finding no water flows through the shower rose when the mixer is turned on is a classic case of why plumbing should be left to the licensed.
Testing is a crucial step a plumber knows must be done before walls can be sheeted, waterproofed and tiled. For the inexperienced, not completing this step can cost thousands to rectify and it’s expected a plumber should know how to fix it. In these cases, you’re lucky if a plumber will touch the job as they will need to put their name against work they haven’t completed. Also, they are in their rights to notify the local authority of unlicensed work that has been conducted.
Another common request is laying pipes for drainage and getting a plumber to make the final connection to the sewer. If plumbers are doing this, they need to stop because how can they guarantee what’s been laid has been done correctly? It will come back to bite them.
Asking a plumber to show you how to do their job will (and should) receive a big fat no response. They aren’t doing it to be unkind. They are doing it to protect an industry that requires a license to work in.
If you want to know how to fix the plumbing issues in your property, apply for a plumbing apprenticeship. Get your license. You will soon realise how important it is for plumbing to be a regulated industry. Asking a plumber to show you how to fix a major plumbing problem or install new plumbing to your property so you can save money shows more about your character, than the plumber saying no to your request.
Have a read of this before you decide to start doing unlicensed work. If you can afford a maximum penalty fine of $80,000 when caught, then do proceed to do your own plumbing without a license.